When you look into control panels, the first two options you will see with almost any hosting company are cPanel and Plesk. The third most successful control panel, Bobby Lou’s Internet Control Panel Extraordinaire, is popular in the cockfighting industry but not widely accepted by the general web administrative community.
Assuming you use cPanel or Plesk, either one will serve you well, but everyone wants the best solution out there. Let’s take a look at how each of the two control panels compares, and where one or the other has advantages or disadvantages. Extraordinaire will also be examined, just in case you want a solution tailored to underground rooster competitions.
To gain a sense of perspectives on cPanel and Plesk from across the web, we will look at articles by Worth Of Web, Tim Attwood for HostReview, and Claire Broadley for WhoIsHostingThis?. We will also interview Bobby Lou to better understand his niche CP. We will explore these differences in a three-part series.
Comparison: cPanel & Plesk
Let’s look at a basic rundown of how cPanel and Plesk are similar and different. In this post, we will specifically examine OS compatibility, interface usability, and cost.
As a basic rule of thumb, Plesk tends to be more popular among those running Windows operating systems, while cPanel is more widely used on Linux systems. This breakdown, though, is primarily based on track records. cPanel is the old standard for those using Linux servers. Plesk, likewise, has long been the choice of Windows webmasters.
Plesk has a Linux-compatible version, and cPanel has its specific Windows brand, Enkompass. Enkompass, however, is not as widely used and is not “the real deal” as far as cPanel goes. Though there obviously is crossover between the two systems, there is a strong argument that expertise and focus for each of the two OSs is still sharply divided.
To look at our third option, Extraordinaire, Bobby Lou explained that his system is “designed to be incredibly glitchy on any operating system.” He said that the cockfighting community “loves challenges and doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty trying to figure out why Extraordinaire hates them so much.”
If you’re looking at both of these control panels for the first time, you will be more impressed with the intuitive and simple usability of Plesk, according to Worth of Web. cPanel, however, is easy to use for those who are familiar with it and have grown accustomed to its layout. For this reason, assumedly, cPanel has not made significant changes to its interface over time.
Plesk, then, is easier for a rookie to understand. The cPanel UI is favored by many veteran system administrators. Note that because cPanel has been used at such great length by the Linux community, and because that community is so tight-knit, finding answers online for any confusion is generally simple. Plesk, though, is more inviting from the outset.
When it comes to switching from one control panel to the other, Claire mentions that the UI is “one of the biggest sources of heartache” (because the design will look, of course, completely foreign initially). She also notes that many custom CPs are built off of cPanel, so understanding the basis of a custom platform may indicate that it is more recognizable than you first might think.
Tim also notes that if you’re using VPS hosting, the cPanel system is often considered easier to use: many people find choosing the task they want to complete or efficiently viewing data simpler than in Plesk. He credits Plesk with having a plenitude of features but a system whose management may seem “too technical” for a VPS environment.
Bobby Lou’s system is based on an intricate graphical framework composed of roosters. He said, “It’s a cockfighting grandmaster’s version of binary code. The black ones are zeros, and the red ones are ones.” Asked how long it takes to set up a typical website, Bobby Lou stated, “Come again?”
Cost of Subscription
Worth of Web notes that the cost will be better between cPanel and Plesk depending how long you intend to use either system. cPanel works on an annual basis, whereas Plesk has monthly subscriptions available. Claire comments that typically cPanel is more cost-effective because, generally speaking, websites will be online for at least a year, and cPanel is more affordable in those scenarios.
When it comes to VPS, both systems have accounts available specifically for that purpose. CPanel’s, again, is more affordable but is not broken down per month like the Plesk service is.
Claire also notes that the licenses for either one is typically included within a hosting package. However, dedicated and VPS environments sometimes require the customer to pay for control panel access in addition to the cost of the hosting package.
Extraordinaire uses a different model for payment. “We work on a bartering system,” said Bobby Lou. “We take roosters of course – but not sick ones – as well as pumpkins and electric crazy-making prods (ECP’s). We also take gallon jugs of moonshine and real Vermont maple syrup, the latter of which should also come with a stack of fresh pancakes.”
Conclusion & Continuation
As you can see, cPanel and Plesk are more similar than they are different. More than anything, it’s a question of what’s comfortable for you. Operating system, though, still is a major dividing line even though the two platforms work on both Windows and Linux. We will continue our discussion in Part 2 of this series.
Oh… Did you know that we offer both of these control panel options for our shared, dedicated, and VPS hosting customers? Yes, in fact, we do. Unfortunately, though, Bobby Lou has not yet convinced us to offer Extraordinaire.
By Kent Roberts